Monday, October 31

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How Do You Spell Ms.

An oral history of Ms. magazine.

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King of Kings

On the life, legacy, and last days of Muammar Qaddafi.

Sunday, October 30

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Up in the Old Hotel

Joseph Mitchell immerses himself in the Fulton Fish Market.

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Host

On conservative radio host John Ziegler and “the strange media landscape in which political talk radio is a salient.”

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Interview: Ellsworth Kelly

A conversation with the 88-year-old abstract painter.

PALTROW: Did you design camouflage while in the army?

KELLY: I did posters. I was in what they called the camouflage secret army. This was in 1943. The people at Fort Meade got the idea to make rubber dummies of tanks, which we inflated on the spot and waited for Germans to see through their night photography or spies. We were in Normandy, for example, pretending to be a big, strong armored division which, in fact, was still in England. That way, even though the tanks were only inflated, the Germans would think there were a lot of them there, a lot of guns, a whole big infantry. We just blew them up and put them in a field.

Saturday, October 29

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The Decade in Indie

On the increasing tension between the pleasant, thoughtful indie rock of car commercials and those who insist on something weirder.

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He Who Casts the First Stone

The low-key swingers of sleepy Amarillo, Texas find themselves relentlessly harassed by a militant Christian group.

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Long Day's Journey

Two weeks spent walking across Provence.

There is something about entering an ancient town on foot that's radically different from entering the same place by car. Keep in mind that these old French towns were all designed by people on foot for people on foot. So when you walk in, you're approaching the place as it was intended to be approached—slowly and naturally, the way Dorothy came upon Oz (spires rising in the distance, a sense of mounting mystery: What kind of city will this be?).

Friday, October 28

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In Somalia

Three decades ago, Mohamed Siad Barre, commander of the Supreme Revolutionary Council, head of the politburo of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party and the last ruler of a functional Somali state, built vast concrete buildings all over Mogadishu. The beautiful city on the coast of the Indian Ocean, with its Arabic and Indian architecture, winding alleyways and Italian colonial-era villas, was dominated by these monuments. They were Third World incarnations of Soviet architecture, exuding power, stability and strength. The buildings – like the literacy campaigns, massive public works programmes and a long war against neighbouring Ethiopia in the late 1970s and early 1980s – were supposed to reflect the wisdom and authority of the dictator.
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The Revolutionary

A profile of Hugo Chávez, two years into his presidency.

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In the New Gangland of El Salvador

How LA-style gang life migrated to the slums of San Salvador.

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The Movie Set That Ate Itself

Inside the five-year (so far) production of the Ilya Khrzhanovsky film Dau:
Khrzhanovsky came up with the idea of the Institute not long after preproduction on Dau began in 2006. He wanted a space where he could elicit the needed emotions from his cast in controlled conditions, twenty-four hours a day. The set would be a panopticon. Microphones would hide in lighting fixtures (as they would in many a lamp in Stalin's USSR), allowing Khrzhanovsky to shoot with multiple film cameras from practically anywhere — through windows, skylights, and two-way mirrors. The Institute's ostensible goal was to re-create '50s and '60s Moscow, home to Dau's subject, Lev Landau. A Nobel Prize–winning physicist, Landau significantly advanced quantum mechanics with his theories of diamagnetism, superfluidity, and superconductivity. He also tapped epic amounts of ass.